NEARLY 16,000 green jobs could be created in Leeds City Region with investment that is rooted in the needs of local communities and that also tackles the climate emergency, according to a new report.

The report will be launched on Friday, December 3 by Leeds North West MP Alex Sobel and the campaign group GALBA (Group for Action On Leeds Bradford Airport).

Produced by GALBA and the Green House Think Tank, the report suggests that almost 16,000 jobs could be created in sectors such as public transport and super-insulating homes.

A Green New Deal for Leeds City Region: GALBA’s Vision for a Sustainable Local Economy is supported by Leeds Trades Union Council and describes a vision for the region that rejects the narrative of ‘jobs versus the environment’. Supporters say a Green New Deal investment programme would deliver significant employment opportunities and restore services across every local authority in the region.

The report says that currently, central government tax breaks for Leeds Bradford Airport flights amount to nearly £100m annually - and would rise by a further 75 per cent if plans for the airport’s expansion go ahead. The findings also pour cold water on the jobs claims associated with those plans. It says Leeds Bradford Airport itself projects only 1,460 new jobs would be directly created by 2030. And it claims even this is likely to be a significant overestimate based on the experience of previous UK airport expansions and the impact of automation in the future.

Robert Magowan, one of the co-authors from Green House Think Tank, said: “We set out here the outline of a Green New Deal with incredible potential for job creation. Over 30,000 jobs would be created over the course of a ten-year transition to more sustainable housing, energy and transport. 16,000 of those would be maintained over the long-term. If you include much-needed investment in care work - as a critical part of a healthier, low-carbon future - that would add a further 11,000 jobs.”

Chris Foren, chair of GALBA, said: “Our starting point for this report is to face up to four facts. First, the climate crisis is a real and present danger. Second, to prevent its worst effects, we must cut emissions in half by 2030. Third, it is not possible to cut aviation emissions in half by 2030. Fourth, people need secure and meaningful work. So we must - and we can - change our local economy to create a better future for everyone.”

He added: “The aviation industry has been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic and workers from that sector, along with many others, need practical support to reskill for new, low carbon jobs. GALBA doesn’t pretend to have all the answers. But we do know that Yorkshire needs an investment strategy that helps people make the transition to good, secure jobs that tackle the climate emergency rather than make it worse. Our generation has seen the emergence of a human-created climate crisis. We must also be the generation to fix this, by making best use of our most precious resource – our people.”

Leeds Bradford Airport says there are many economic benefits to its replacement terminal scheme:

It says the development will support 12,650 permanent positions - an increase of 5,230 on 2019 - and will increase the airport’s contribution to the region’s economy from £377 million in 2019 to £869 million.

It says the aviation sector is committed to becoming carbon net zero by 2050, with domestic flights and airport operations by 2040 – and that this will be achieved through the creation of new, green jobs in the industry.

A spokesperson for the airport said: “LBA’s future will be in low carbon jobs embracing green aviation technologies that already exist, but also investing in new technologies as they develop on a global scale. Like with many sectors, technologies that reduce emissions need continued investment, we will be committing to this investment to ensure the long term future of the aviation industry. Like GALBA, we don’t have all the answers, but we are working hard to ensure that LBA can play a massive role in stimulating sustainable growth and jobs for the regional economy.”